Friday, June 27, 2014

This IS War

I was reminded this morning (how could I forget?) that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. We are all in a spiritual battle - whether we know it or not. The enemy uses anything and everything to keep us from reaching the Lord whilst our souls cry out to God the Father. 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 

This battle rages on and will continue to do so until Christ's second coming and Satan is locked up in the fires of Hell forever. Until then, we must fight.

Galatians 5:16-17 - "But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please."

All believers have the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit as the personal power for living to please God. Walking is a continuous action, or a habitual lifestyle. Walking also implies progress; as we (believers) submit to the Spirit's control, we grow in our spiritual life. The flesh is not simply the physical body, but also includes the mind, our will, and our emotions - which are all subject to sin. The flesh opposes the work of the Spirit and leads us toward sinful behavior, ruinous thoughts and feelings that we would not otherwise be compelled to do, think and feel. 

So walking by the Spirit means fighting in a war between the Spirit and the sinful nature. The connection between verses 16 and 17 indicates that those who live by the Spirit are not neutral in this war. They are committed to fight of the side of the Spirit against the desires of the sinful nature. This inner spiritual warfare is the nature of the Christian life; it is the experience of all those who live by the Spirit. The conflict Paul is describing here is not the moral conflict that everyone feels at some time, nor the conflict of a wayward Christian who is no longer committed to Christ. This is the conflict of a thoroughly committed Christian who is choosing each day to "walk by the Spirit".  Each day the Christian who chooses to walk by the Spirit is engaged in a fierce battle between the Spirit and the sinful nature. 

Ephesians 6:10-17 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, agains the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having everything to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Did you notice that this passage says to stand firm 3 times? Paul calls Christians to take a firm position in the spiritual battle against Satan and his minions and the full armor of God is our defense. The Christian armor is made to be worn and there is no taking it off until we have done our warfare and finished our course. 

We must fight. We must fight with all we have, never growing weary of doing good. All of us, collectively and individually, are in this battle. Don't let the enemy slip in. Don't give in to weariness, sadness, pain and offenses. Go after God with all your might; with all your mind; with all your heart; and with all your strength. 

It is tough. It is tough as moms. It is tough as wives. It is tough as Christians. It is so crucial (and I am so 'preaching' to myself here) that we make sure to spend quality time (daily!) with the King of kings; reading (and rereading) His word and communing with Him. 

Let us turn off the computers, the TVs and the phones. Let's open the Word (our sword) and pursue God like never before. He promised that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

(I wrote this with the help of the Matthew Henry Commentary and the commentary of my study Bible).